Cat out of the bag

Weekly Times WED 26 MAY 2010
by Paul Sellars 
IT'S hardly an issue over which the November 27 state election could be won or lost.
But at least one major political party believes alleged sightings of ``
big cats'' across Victoria are serious enough to be an election policy.
The Victorian Nationals last week reaffirmed its 2006 policy to investigate whether large puma-like animals exist in the state.
Leader Peter Ryan said it was time to establish once and for all whether Victoria really was home to more than just oversized domestic cats gone feral.
``I am a sceptic, as are many others, but there is a body of commentary and evidence around to say there is a prospect these things exist and I think we should resolve it one way or another,'' Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said an investigation did not have to be a ``huge undertaking''.
``It would be a case of involving people who have the relevant skills and backing them with the resources of the Department (of Sustainability and Environment),'' he said.
Environment Minister Gavin Jennings said instead of searching for ``non-existent
big cats,'' the Nationals ``should be out there searching for some real policies that protect the environment''.
``If they find a unicorn or a dodo we will gladly provide them with the phone number for the Melbourne Zoo,'' Mr Jennings said.